Chase Ritenauer, who had initially been running this year for a third term as Lorain's mayor, instead announced Thursday he will step down from the position at the end of the month.
Ritenauer's decision came in a tweet posted at 4:20 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The mayor cited family concerns (notably the recent birth of his daughter Quinn) as the main reason for his resignation, stating, "My wife has only known me as a mayor. I do not want that for my daughter in these early, important years."
Ritenauer was first elected mayor of his hometown back in 2011, and in his statement touted several accomplishments in the years since:
"By focusing on core city services, together we improved our infrastructure like roadways, housing stock, and utility lines. These investments are paying dividends in a revitalized downtown, re-development, and property value increases...The budget is running a surplus, and we are in structural balance."
Ritenauer filed to run for reelection back on Feb. 6, just two days after Quinn's birth. Just three months later, he claims he would not have filed "had I known then what I know now." The Lorain City Democratic Central Committee will now be responsible for appointing a replacement to fill out the remainder of the mayor's term, as well as choosing someone to run in the 2019 general election against Republican Jessie Tower in November.
The Chronicle-Telegram reports Ritenauer has already accepted a new job as director of mergers, acquisitions and business development at Republic Services in Crestwood, Illinois. His resignation as mayor will officially take effect on May 31 at 11:59 p.m.:
"It has been my sincere pleasure and honor to serve our city and to be your mayor. I have always approached the work with full dedication and truly believe my time as mayor will be the toughest, most rewarding job I will ever have. Thank you for your trust in me for all these years."
Lorain School Board President Mark Ballard told WKYC in a statement:
"We are very happy for our mayor and appreciate all his hard work on Hb70. I am very confident that the proper work has been done to make the governor and the Ohio legislators aware of the detriment of this horrible bill that has ruined our district along with other districts. Mayor Chase Ritenauer has been a champion of our city and a champion of our schools district and we are very thankful for all his support."
Hb70 is in reference to the current law that has Lorain City Schools (along with East Cleveland and Youngstown) under state control after receiving a grade of 'F' for three straight years in report cards from the Ohio Department of Education.
The Ohio House recently passed a bill to end state takeover of local schools.